Archive for the ‘Babies’ Category

Impact of Toys in Child Development

May 6, 2010

Parents often seek assistance in selecting the right toys at the most ideal stage of their child’s development. Many toys are designed for particular ages based on safety concerns; however, many others are designed to specifically encourage the development of certain abilities in a child.
In this article we will explore the fundamental skills developed by infants at varying ages, and the types of toys that can encourage children to reach their potential.

The Baby’s 1st Year :

In the first year of a baby’s life, they begin exploring and experimenting with their most important senses:

Sound & Smell : In the first instance babies begin to match voices with certain faces and facial expressions, mainly from being held, fed and nurtured. Likewise, certain smells can be recognised and associations are gradually made. As they begin to establish these social attachments they become more receptive to different sounds and smells. Toys with sound and music that react to a child’s action are especially good at this stage, and simply letting your baby smell something and then see it can encourage development in this area.

Touch & Sight : As babies begin to take a little control of their hands; touching and feeling things become an important part of an infant’s development. Similarly, as sight becomes clearer, babies become more receptive to visual aids. Toys for this age are designed to enhance and encourage these traits. Toys should be for seeing, hearing and touching, this encourages the child to respond to the sights and sounds they see and hear. Picture books with sound, teddy bears with different textures and pulley toys that respond to a child’s movement are especially beneficial after 6 months old. Toys in bright, monochromic colours can also help to stimulate eyesight
in the first year of a child’s life.

Ages 1 to 2 :

This stage is an important time for developing independence and important social skills that will never be lost. Between the ages of 1 and 2 it is surprising how rapidly a child develops from a tentative toddler saying only 1 or 2 words, to a confident child able to easily run and speak around 50 individual words.

From the age of 1, infants begin taking an interest in the effects of their manipulation, and it is very fun to sit back and watch children at this age. They particularly enjoy throwing toys and building things, so building blocks Duplo, and stickle bricks are fantastic toys at this age for encouraging hand and eye coordination, as well as a sense of balance.

From around 18 months, infants are able to walk very well and can run to an extent. When objects are in the way – running can prove difficult. However, with their newfound freedom, children love to explore and try everything out, without a sense of danger, so toys that encourage active play at this age are well received. Balls, Sit n’ Rides , Activity Stations, toys that speak or make noises and toys of characters they see on TV are advantageous additions to a toy box at this age – they will encourage children to play actively, and it will also help them sleep well at bed time (an added bonus!).

Language progression is also crucial at this age. Children will begin responding when spoken to and chattering away when playing. This makes it important for adults to talk to children in conversations, read stories and sing nursery rhymes whenever possible.

Ages 2 Years +:

As a child turns two years old their abilities in counting and speaking becomes clearer, and bodily strength in running and climbing becomes more refined.
At the turn of two years old, toys that have movement and sound and allow the child to throw and drop are ideal, as they will help to refine their physical strengths. Toys that allow the children to push themselves along, such as sit ‘n’ ride toys that allow children to steer are very desirable.
As they approach 3 years old, outdoor toys such as climbing frames and garden swings are great. Children at this age have good spatial awareness, and refined bodily strength. They can move large toys easily, kick balls forcefully and they also have the ability to use pedals on a bike.
An infant’s imagination will develop greatly at this age as well, which is why dressing up and a fascination with make believe is noticeable. Doll sets, action figures, train sets and such toys are favourable at this age and help children express themselves and explore their independence. Children will also start to play with others and learn social skills through play. Cooperation and taking turns are examples of skills that will become extremely important both at a young age and throughout life.
Showing off new skills to family is also a very common trait for children around 3 years and upwards. Toys that mimic adult tasks, such as vacuum cleaners, cookers, shop tills and lawn mowers are especially good for engaging with a child.
While we have focussed on the initial, most advancing years of a child’s life in this article, toys have been proven to encourage creativity, self confidence and academic skills throughout every stage of childhood.

make a Beautiful Baby Room on a Budget

May 1, 2010

You have a new baby on the way, which means there are so many things to consider and do before the child even arrives home. Chief among the preparations is setting up a room for baby. Many superstitions surround the project of making a room for the new baby before its born, but a certain amount of preparation must be done and can’t be left for the last minute. You simply won’t have the time or the energy to paint or wallpaper or put together furniture. The best places to look for budget-conscious baby furniture are at swap meets, yard sales, or thrift stores. Second hand can be just as good as buying new, in most cases. One thing most people don’t consider when buying items is the amount of use the furniture will receive as the child grows. Will you be able to use the crib as a toddler bed later on when your child is ready for a “real” bed? How well will the furniture you’re getting now transition into something a small child could use? The more mileage you can get out of a piece of furniture, the more you’ll get back from your investment. The first thing to keep in mind when designing your baby’s room is safety. If you’re inheriting baby furniture from a friend or family member, or re-using furniture you’ve had from previous children, check to make sure that everything is in perfect condition. Is the piece of furniture solid? Are there any loose screws or nails poking out? Is the finish smooth and splinter free? If the piece needs some work, are you capable of doing the fixing yourself? It may be more practical to buy something else to replace a worn item. As we’ve mentioned before, if you are handy in the workshop or with a sewing machine, there is no reason why you can’t make some furnishings yourself. Give old furniture a new coat of paint or strip off the old paint and stain the wood. Making curtains is easy work too, and you’ll probably end up with something better than what you could buy already-made. If you know how to knit, crochet, or quilt, use the quiet months before the baby arrives to make blankets and pillows. Keep color schemes simple. Primary colors of blue, yellow, and red are good throughout the child’s early life. Pink and blue might be nice choices in the beginning, but not as practical later on as your child grows older. Painting a room is much easier than wallpapering, but if you want to add a little zip to solid-colored walls, consider putting up a pre-printed border or vinyl wall decorations that are easily removed later on. If you’re the artistic type, paint a mural on your child’s walls.

The Baby Furniture Ideas

April 28, 2010

Buying baby furniture can be considered an investment because of the durability that it offers if you buy the right quality. Baby furniture pieces can last for many years; hence, they can serve you and your baby for a long period of time. Because of this, it is important to be careful in buying the furniture for your child’s nursery room. It is important to consider some criteria in dressing up the room and highlighting the theme that will make the room colorful, attractive, pleasing and practical.

When you are on the lookout for baby furniture, you will find that there is a wide range of choices in terms of design and style. However, you should be guided in your decision-making in terms of your budget, comfort, style and safety. These are important factors on which to base your decision on whether to get a particular piece of furniture or not.
The baby furniture pieces that you should consider are given below :

1. Crib and mattress
Getting a quality baby crib is very important. You can choose from different styles. You can opt to get a convertible, sleigh or canopy style. The color scheme should match the overall nursery theme. Make sure that the crib and mattress can add to the attractive look of the room. Also, when choosing a mattress, you have to consider the baby’s comfort. You should decide whether an innerspring type or foam will be best for your baby. You can also add accessories like crib sheets, bedding, wedges and matters pads. You should make sure that they are consistent with the theme.

2. Changing table
It is important to set up a place for the changing of your baby’s diaper. This is done on the changing table. When choosing one, get the padded type with guard rails and storage drawers for easy access to baby needs.

3. Cradle and bassinet
It is good to have a cradle that will allow you to rock your baby to sleep. This can provide the sound rest, comfort and security that your child needs. You can also choose to have a bassinet that can contain a bumper, fitted sheet and hood cover.

4. Other pieces of furniture
You can choose to include a rocking chair, Moses basket, playpen, dresser, high chair, and stroller. There are available quality sets in furniture shops as well as online. Note that when you are shopping, you have to always keep in mind that what you buy should match all the other furniture pieces.

Choosing Luxury Baby Bedding and Baby Furniture to Match Your Baby’s Style

April 28, 2010

Many parents only have a vague idea of all of the baby gear they’ll need for their baby. The basics include a car seat (assuming you have a vehicle), a stroller (unless you plan to wear your baby in a wrap, and even then most babies  are too heavy to wear by the time they are a year old), an infant seat or high chair (somewhere to place your baby for feeding time and snack time), and a place to sleep. Depending on the parent you speak with, you’ll find that there are many different options for what a baby should sleep in. You have your standard crib, a playpen (often referred to as a Pack ‘n Play, which is actually the name of Graco’s playpen and not a synonym for playpen or activity yard), bassinets, Moses baskets (these are only appropriate for babies who are not sitting up) and cradles.

There are also in-bed and bedside cots for those parents who wish to co-sleep with their babies. These sleeping choices are perfect and convenient solutions for breastfeeding mothers, as they put baby within arm’s reach. Not having to get up and go across the room or down the hall for a hungry baby at two in the morning is always a relief!
Most parents will tell you that the best solution for sleeping is a crib outfitted with luxury baby bedding. A crib grows with your baby, and many convert into toddler beds and even full-sized or queen-sized beds. The crib is the queen of baby furniture.

Cribs feature adjustable bottoms and sides. This means that infants can have their crib mattresses raised up so that Mom and Dad don’t have to lean too far into the crib to pick them up or place them down. For babies who are pulling themselves up and young toddlers that are standing, the crib mattress can be dropped to a very low height, so that there is no risk of the child being able to push themselves over the railing and out of the crib.

Once you do select the appropriate Baby Furniture for your child to sleep in, you’ll need to think about baby bedding. Luxury baby bedding is one choice that many new parents, mothers especially, will often make room in their budget to splurge on. This is because baby bedding is a once-in-a-lifetime investment for your baby, as you only need one dust ruffle, one crib bumper and headboard cover, one blanket or quilt and a few different crib sheets. Not only is luxury beautiful, it also feels super soft on your baby’s skin. While Luxury Baby Bedding is often more expensive than standard crib bedding, you’re paying for exceptional style and quality materials that will last with even the most active of babies.

Five Baby Furniture You Must Haves

April 27, 2010

If you’re expecting a baby, then it would do you well to expect additional expenses too. With the many things that you would have to buy, you need to differentiate between pieces of baby furniture that are absolutely necessary and those that are mere fills. Here are the absolute top five baby furniture pieces that you should have in your nursery.

1.  Crib

Whether you’re planning to co-sleep with your baby at night, you would still need to have a sturdy and safe baby crib. The crib is the only piece of baby furniture on which you may safely leave your baby unattended for a short period of time.
Cribs are made with safety in mind these days especially since the government and product controllers have set certain guidelines for product users’ safety. Otherwise, crib models would never make it out on the market. You should still be extra careful and vigilant though. Even to this day, there are crib product recalls. The recalls usually happen when certain features are discovered to be potentially dangerous. Keep your ears and eyes peeled for online news on recent product recalls.

2. Portable Crib/ Playpen

Even with nursery cribs, it would still be a practical idea to have a portable playpen or a portable baby crib. Portables like these would come in handy for parents who would like to enjoy family trips and picnics with their babies.
Like nursery cribs, standard portable cribs are also manufactured with your baby’s safety in mind. Do remember though that like standard cribs, portables may also be recalled if they have features that may still be improved on. Some parents also use portable cribs as their main nursery crib. It is probably safest though not to use portables as all around cribs.

3. Cabinet/ Changing Table

Of course you can’t do without some space to store all those baby diapers, clothes and miscellaneous items. A sturdy cabinet with back brackets would be a good piece of furniture to store baby items in. To save you some cash, you should consider buying a baby cabinet that can double as a changing table. This way, you only have to buy one piece of furniture that can perform two functions. A good design would be a piece with a changing table on top and open shelves or drawers below to hold baby items. The top storage compartment could hold diapers and other changing articles to make baby changing an easier chore.

4. High Chair

As soon as your baby finds out that he can sit and move around while feeding, things can begin to get really messy. You don’t want to forever keep chasing after your baby. This is why you need a good high chair for baby meal time. Pick one with a wide sturdy base to prevent tipping accidents.

5. Toy Box

Teaching your child to clean his room should begin as early as the baby and toddler stages. This is why it is probably a good idea for you to get your child a toy box. Teach him to store his toys after play so that he can carry over the habit until adulthood. Pick a toy box that doesn’t have a heavy lid. It should also ideally have a lock in place spring to prevent the lid from falling on your child. Other safe designs include the open storage piece that is easy for your baby to use.

About Da Vinci Baby Furniture

April 27, 2010

When decorating the nursery and choosing baby furniture it’s important to understand your baby’s needs. There are specific milestones that all babies go through during their first year and getting the right baby furniture to meet their growing needs is essential.

When your baby is first born, expect mostly sleeping, some crying, a fair amount of eating and of course, elimination. That’s about it, but it is adorable. This is the perfect time to use the Da Vinci Cradle which is smaller and more protected than a crib. You can also keep the cradle at your bedside to rock the baby to sleep and respond quickly in the night. This is a safer choice than keeping your little one in bed with you.

However, cradles shouldn’t be used after baby starts to be more mobile which happens during the second and third months. From totally dependent newborn he or she will slowly get more voluntary control over the body. Endless hours are spent inspecting hands and body movements. Increasingly aware of his surroundings, your face will be recognized and you’ll love it. Smiles appear more frequently especially when you are seen or heard (This drops off in the teen years!). Neck strength will greatly improve along with mobility. There could even be cooing and swatting at mobile toys.

At this point, baby will need something less restrictive such as the Da Vinci Convertible Crib. In fact, this one convertible piece of baby furniture could last from home from the hospital to out the door to college. Convertible cribs reassemble to create a sturdy toddler bed, practical day bed and even a comfortable full size bed. Some convertible baby furniture comes with a conversion kit, other times you’ll need to purchase a kit separately.

Decorate Your Baby’s Room with Baby Accessories

April 24, 2010

Isn’t it a great idea to decorate your baby’s room with baby accessories? Your baby will be happy in a colorful and pleasant surrounding. There are a few simple things that can make your baby’s room attractive.

1. Pillows and Duvets: They are not merely functional. Duvets and pillows can add charm to your baby’s room. Select the pillows carefully. You can place them on your baby’s crib. You can also decorate your baby’s rocking chair with the pillows. These pillows are available in various colors and designs. Other than the design you also need to ensure that they are soft and comfortable for your baby.

2. Musical Mobiles: Hanging musical mobiles over your baby’s crib is a great way to decorate your baby’s room. Musical mobiles will have a cute effect. Though they are old fashioned, they are still popular because of the sweet effect they have. This is the reason that they are still considered to be one of the best baby accessories.

3. Toy Bags: Toy bags are very handy. They are available in all the baby stores. The colorful bags look very attractive. It is not unnatural to get bewildered with the numerous options. Designer toy bags are functional and decorative at the same time. A well designed toy bag can be put at one corner of your baby’s room. You can keep the toys in the bag when your baby doesn’t need them.

4. Diaper Stackers: One of the must haves in your baby’s room is the diaper stacker. They are not only useful. Diaper stackers look good when they go with the theme of your baby’s room. You can get diaper stackers that match the wall color of the room or the patterns of the curtains. It will create a strong effect overall.

5. Wall Hangings: The use of wall hangings are popular everywhere. They can add a new dimension to the overall decor of the room. Wall hangings are available in various designs of famous cartoon characters. You can also choose them according to the theme of your baby’s room. Wall hangings can enhance the appearance of your baby’s room in no time.

6. Soft Toys: Soft Toys are sweet and delicate. They are just amazing for your baby’s accessories. You can buy lots of soft toys to decorate your baby’s room. Your baby will love to play with them. Make sure that the toys are washable. If they are not clean they will spoil the charm of the room. In fact unclean toys are not safe for your baby. They can cause various diseases.

7. Window Valance: Fuzzy window valance in stylish soft patterns are also nice baby accessories. Decorating the room with valances will give it an attractive look.

8. Throw Rug: Soft designer throw rug is a great baby accessory to put carelessly on the floor of your baby’s room. It not only looks good but also ensures that your baby will not end up with scratched knees when he/she starts crawling.

When you buy baby accessories keep the theme of your baby’s room in mind. You will end up choosing the perfect accessories to decorate that special room of your house.

How To Choose Learning Toys

April 24, 2010

When choosing learning toys or developmental toys for your child, consider safety and each area of your child’s development.  Children should have access to a wide variety of toys that offer a wide array of learning experiences.  Use these guidelines to choose the best learning toys for your child at their current level of development.

1)  Make sure that the toy is age appropriate.  Many toys will have a suggested age range on the packaging.  Use your best judgment.  If your child is seven and the package says for ages 7 to 9, but you think that your child will be frustrated with the complexity of the toy, then choose something that is closer to your child’s level.

2)  Make sure that the toy is something that will hold the child’s interest. It could be the most educational toy you’ve ever seen, but if your child is not interested, then it will go to waste.  Young toddlers love bright colors, textures, sounds, and patterns.  Older children get more interested in small detailed items.  If there is a learning cube or something that you think your toddler may not be really interested in but you want them to be, consider letting them put stickers of their favorite character on it.  Children will usually like things that they are familiar with or associate with something else that they like.  Another tactic is to give it to them right after or during the time that they are playing with what they love so that they associate the two things together.

3)  Choose toys that help with an array of developmental areas.  Some toys will help with a few different areas.  Make a check list of developmental goals and make sure that there are toys available to the child that will help with each area.  Children should get experience in each area every day to develop properly.  Here are the five major areas to concentrate on:

a.  Cognitive Development

b.  Speech and Language Development

c.  Social and Emotional Development

d.  Fine Motor Skills

e.  Gross Motor Skills

Use Modern Baby Bath Tubs

April 23, 2010

Bath time is cute but isn’t always fun when the baby doesn’t enjoy water but it doesn’t have to be stressful if you have the right bathtub for bath times. The safest way to use a bathtub is to have it placed low down just incase the baby jerks out of the tub there is no drop. So place the baby bath tub either inside your own bath tub which is efficient for containing the water or to lay the bathtub on the floor on top of a large towel to keep the flooring dry.

There are really a lot of styles and new shapes to choose from to suit each stage of your baby’s development the new European style baby bath tubs are designed for newborns they are made to reflect the feeling of being contained in the womb. They are designed deep and upright so the baby is sitting at an angle, they are sort of funny looking and resemble a bucket and can only be used for newborns up to 2 months old. If you choose one of these you will have to buy another larger baby bath tub a couple of months later so keep that in mind.

Larger baby bath tubs have longevity they will last from newborn until they are old enough to use the regular tub. Some models come with a partition which allows you to section off some of the tub to make it smaller and more comfortable for newborns this is a good option if you are budgeting as it will be suitable from newborn to toddler.

There are a range of baby bathtub accessories that come in very useful and are inexpensive. A baby bath tub mesh can be used in the bath tub to cradle a newborn and allow them to relax in the tub while leaving your hands free to grab a towel or some soap. The baby tub mesh is portable so it can also be used in the kitchen sink for a quick baby wash when time is tight and you don’t want to waste time moving bathtubs of water across the house. Foam bath inserts are a good option for the regular tub they give the baby a soft comfortable cushion while bathing and can be used by parents who enjoy relaxing in the tub with the baby.

Bugaboo Pushchairs Design

April 23, 2010

Bugaboo pushchairs are massively popular right now.  But, eye catching and pricey in equal measure, you have to ask whether turning heads is worth the cost.  The manufacturer and designer, We would argue that a Bugaboo pushchair is more about a lifestyle choice than simply a mode of baby transportation, but is this simply a clever marketing tactic, designed to part excited new parents from their hard earned cash?

Since a cameo on Sex and the City, back in the late 90s a Bugaboo stroller has been the buggy of choice for many a celebrity and plenty of ordinary people looking for a more exciting and distinctive pram.  And there is no doubt that the trademark Bugaboo design is very stylish.  Minimalist and modern, with bright and funky seat covers, Bugaboo prams certainly stand out from the crowd.  The BMW of pushchairs, owning a Bugaboo is something of a status symbol and if you do opt to purchase one, be prepared for some envious stares from other parents!

But, style is one thing, a functional and practical pushchair is another – Bugaboo claim that their buggies deliver on both fronts, but when put to the test do their pushchairs really offer something different, something better than the other prams out there?

Certainly, their lightweight aluminium chassis designs are strong and tough as well as being distinctive and minimalist.  Little details, like the reversible handle on the Cameleon pushchair suggest that real thought has been put into parent and child-friendly design features.  Being able to change your buggy from rear to forward facing with just the flip of a handle is a perfect time and hassle saver for frazzled parents!  Equally, the one-handed fold mechanism offered by the Bugaboo Bee shows that Barenbrug is in tune with the practical needs of parents.  So, perhaps the real reason for their popularity is the ability of the Bugaboo pushchair to combine style and glamour with functionality.

Although, perhaps a luxury pushchair, Bugaboo prams are designed to last from birth until the toddler age, offering the perfect travel solution for every stage, without the need to buy anything else; so although a Bugaboo is a sizeable investment, it is a complete travel solution.

Again, the thought and care that has gone into designing the Bugaboo range can be seen in their choice of the Maxi Cosi car seat to convert the pushchair into a travel system.  Maxi Cosi design a fantastic range of infant carriers, with comfortable and snug seat design to keep young babies safe and secure.  And the Bugaboo seat units themselves have all been created with support and advice from leading paediatricians, to ensure the perfect support for tiny, delicate spines.